Kero One - Early Believers
Hip Hop has been through something of a lean period of late: big albums postponed and major acts saw it fit to release diluted work that quite simply did not deliver. It’s almost as if the spark central to the genre has dampened under repeat watering, that’s not to say that it is fully extinguished but fuel is most definitely required. Kero One may not be the saviour of the scene, but he is, at least, offering a life line.
Everything on this album coincides with the summer; the relaxed beats and rich instrumentation are coated in glorious sunshine. There’s no violence or confrontation here, no bravado, gangs or beef related threats - there is but happy times to be had. Kero One’s vocal style is extremely reminiscent of Common and Q-Tip - it exudes warmth and intelligence along with a sharpened wit. Ultimately the sound and attitude of Early Believers conjures thoughts of old school Hip Hop and the values that cemented it into a worlds consciousness.
To believe that this guy not only produced and rhymed pretty much everything on Early Believers is amazing and nothing less than a heart-warming revelation. The tracks that shine are ‘Welcome To The Bay’, ‘Keep Pushin’ and ‘This Life Ain’t Mine’ - the first, helping to exhibit all the traits of a man that is destined to produce further, more important work.
If, like me, Hip Hop propositioned you with De La Soul, Tribe Called Quest and Krs-One, then, in spirit Early Believers will most definitely appeal to your nature. It may not exude the brilliance of those artists and their somewhat revolutionary work but it does echo and reference it.
This is a world where the quality of your trainers are as important as your principles – if not more so. The beats and flava are steeped in block parties that I and most readers have never been to, but deeply wish that we had. There is much more to come from this young man, much more. I get the feeling that we’re going to have a block party of our own finding out about it.